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[WSJ] McCain is Un-Pesidential

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by mc mark, Sep 19, 2008.

  1. mc mark

    mc mark Member

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    McCain's Scapegoat

    John McCain has made it clear this week he doesn't understand what's happening on Wall Street any better than Barack Obama does. But on Thursday, he took his populist riffing up a notch and found his scapegoat for financial panic -- Christopher Cox, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    To give readers a flavor of Mr. McCain untethered, we'll quote at length: "Mismanagement and greed became the operating standard while regulators were asleep at the switch. The primary regulator of Wall Street, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) kept in place trading rules that let speculators and hedge funds turn our markets into a casino. They allowed naked short selling -- which simply means that you can sell stock without ever owning it. They eliminated last year the uptick rule that has protected investors for 70 years. Speculators pounded the shares of even good companies into the ground.

    "The chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the President and has betrayed the public's trust. If I were President today, I would fire him."

    Wow. "Betrayed the public's trust." Was Mr. Cox dishonest? No. He merely changed some minor rules, and didn't change others, on short-selling. String him up! Mr. McCain clearly wants to distance himself from the Bush Administration. But this assault on Mr. Cox is both false and deeply unfair. It's also un-Presidential.


    Take "naked" shorting, in which an investor sells a stock short -- betting that it will fall in price -- without first borrowing the shares he is selling from an investor who owns them. The SEC has never condoned the practice, and since 2005 it has clamped down on short selling in any stock that shows evidence of naked shorting. The SEC further tightened its rules against naked shorting just hours before Mr. McCain excoriated Mr. Cox for doing nothing.

    The rules announced Wednesday will increase penalties and close loopholes that exempted broker-dealers from the rules against naked shorting. They also make it clear that deliberately selling short a stock whose shares cannot be borrowed is fraud under the Securities Exchange Act. That's all to the good, we suppose; fraud is fraud. But regular short selling is not fraud. It adds valuable information to the market about what investors believe to be the price direction of a stock. Demonizing short-sellers as a band of criminals, or barring short-selling outright in financial stocks, as regulators in the U.K. did Thursday, removes information from the market.

    Then there's Mr. McCain's tirade against the "uptick rule," a Depression-era chestnut that investors could only short stock after a rise in that stock's price. The SEC staff studied the effect of the uptick rule on prices for years, in a controlled experiment involving thousands of stocks. It found the rule had no effect. Other studies, including those that examined the uptick rule's effect on stocks disclosing bad news, also found that it "protected" no one. The SEC's permanent staff has long supported repeal and the SEC's commissioners voted to do so unanimously in June 2007.

    While he was at it, Mr. McCain added the wholly unsupported assertion that "speculators pounded the shares of even good companies into the ground." It wasn't very long ago that he blamed speculators on the long side for sky-high oil prices. Then oil prices fell. Now Mr. McCain wants voters to believe speculators are responsible for driving mismanaged financial companies to ruin. The irony is that this critique puts Mr. McCain in the same camp as some of the Wall Street CEOs who have led their firms so poorly. They also want someone (else) to blame.

    In case Mr. McCain is interested, overall short interest in financial companies actually declined by 20% between July and the end of August. That's right: Far from driving this crisis, shorts were net buyers of financial stocks this summer, as they must buy stocks back to close their positions and realize their gains (or losses).

    In a crisis, voters want steady, calm leadership, not easy, misleading answers that will do nothing to help. Mr. McCain is sounding like a candidate searching for a political foil rather than a genuine solution. He'll never beat Mr. Obama by running as an angry populist like Al Gore, circa 2000.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122178318884054675.html?mod=todays_us_opinion

    now that’s a spanking…
     
  2. FranchiseBlade

    Supporting Member

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    All that experience and he still doesn't know that he can't fire COX. This along with everything else he's done just goes to show that he isn't fit for the job.
     
  3. AstroMechPLZ

    AstroMechPLZ Member

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    Wall Street Journal editorial board skewers McCain

    (CNN) — John McCain's recent comments on the economy aren't just coming under fire from Barack Obama's campaign: arguably the country's most conservative editorial board said Friday the Arizona senator's recent "populist rifting" was downright "un-presidential."

    A Friday Wall Street Journal editorial sharply criticized McCain for his recent condemnation of Christopher Cox, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Committee. The Republican presidential nominee told an Iowa crowd Thursday Cox had "betrayed the public trust" and should be fired.

    "Mismanagement and greed became the operating standard while regulators were asleep at the switch. The primary regulator of Wall Street, the Securities and Exchange Commission kept in place trading rules that let speculators and hedge funds turn our markets into a casino," McCain said.

    Fact check: Does McCain oppose financial regulation

    In the bruising editorial, the Journal said those comments an "assault on Mr. Cox is both false and deeply unfair."

    "It's also un-Presidential," the Journal said.

    Specifically the editorial says many of McCain's allegations against the SEC were misleading — particularly his claim the SEC allowed "naked short selling" and eliminated the "uptick rule that has protected investors for 70 years.

    According to the editorial, the SEC never condoned the practice of "naked" shorting, and has sought to eliminate the practice during Cox's tenure. The Journal also supports the SEC's decision to eliminate the uptick rule, calling it a "Depression-era chestnut" that "protected no one."

    "In a crisis, voters want steady, calm leadership, not easy, misleading answers that will do nothing to help. Mr. McCain is sounding like a candidate searching for a political foil rather than a genuine solution," the editorial also said. "He'll never beat Mr. Obama by running as an angry populist like Al Gore, circa 2000."

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/09/19/wall-street-journal-editorial-board-skewers-mccain/
     
  4. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Member

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    Well, this patently untrue. What voters need is steady, calm leadership. But, what they want is precisely these sorts of simplified scapegoating answers. I'm sure plenty of people will find the demonization of speculators, which has been an easy trick for a century now, very attractive.
     
  5. B-Bob

    B-Bob "94-year-old self-described dreamer"

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    This is a surprising editorial, in some sense. I would think WSJ would want McCain 9 times out of 10 over Obama.

    This editorial would be like The Nation calling Obama unfit for the job. (And who knows, maybe they already have done so.)
     
  6. pgabriel

    pgabriel Educated Negro

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    Now i don't know for sure, but Keith Olbermann says that even though the president appoints this position, the president can't fire this person.
     
  7. Sweet Lou 4 2

    Sweet Lou 4 2 Member
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    I think this seriously puts into question whether McCain is fit to lead. I mean, he was right, he doesn't know anything about the economy.

    I think he should go back to the military and try to be some sort of administrator there - or maybe he can run vetern affairs. But definitely should not be president, since he doesn't even know who he can fire.
     
  8. deepblue

    deepblue Member

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    Wow, finally Sammy has something in common with McCain. :D
     
  9. Mulder

    Mulder Member

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    Don't you support the troops? Why would you make them suffer like that?

    :D
     
  10. mc mark

    mc mark Member

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    George Will joins the Wall Street Journal --

    McCain Loses His Head

    By George F. Will
    Tuesday, September 23, 2008; Page A21

    "The queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. 'Off with his head!' she said without even looking around."

    -- "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"

    Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama.

    Channeling his inner Queen of Hearts, John McCain furiously, and apparently without even looking around at facts, said Chris Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, should be decapitated. This childish reflex provoked the Wall Street Journal to editorialize that "McCain untethered" -- disconnected from knowledge and principle -- had made a "false and deeply unfair" attack on Cox that was "unpresidential" and demonstrated that McCain "doesn't understand what's happening on Wall Street any better than Barack Obama does."
    ad_icon

    To read the Journal's details about the depths of McCain's shallowness on the subject of Cox's chairmanship, see "McCain's Scapegoat" (Sept. 19). Then consider McCain's characteristic accusation that Cox "has betrayed the public's trust."

    Perhaps an old antagonism is involved in McCain's fact-free slander. His most conspicuous economic adviser is Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who previously headed the Congressional Budget Office. There he was an impediment to conservatives, including then-Rep. Cox, who, as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, persistently tried and generally failed to enlist CBO support for "dynamic scoring" that would estimate the economic growth effects of proposed tax cuts.

    In any case, McCain's smear -- that Cox "betrayed the public's trust" -- is a harbinger of a McCain presidency. For McCain, politics is always operatic, pitting people who agree with him against those who are "corrupt" or "betray the public's trust," two categories that seem to be exhaustive -- there are no other people. McCain's Manichaean worldview drove him to his signature legislative achievement, the McCain-Feingold law's restrictions on campaigning. Today, his campaign is creatively finding interstices in laws intended to restrict campaign giving and spending. (For details, see The Post of Sept. 17; and the New York Times of Sept. 19.)

    By a Gresham's Law of political discourse, McCain's Queen of Hearts intervention in the opaque financial crisis overshadowed a solid conservative complaint from the Republican Study Committee, chaired by Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the RSC decried the improvised torrent of bailouts as a "dangerous and unmistakable precedent for the federal government both to be looked to and indeed relied upon to save private sector companies from the consequences of their poor economic decisions." This letter, listing just $650 billion of the perhaps more than $1 trillion in new federal exposures to risk, was sent while McCain's campaign, characteristically substituting vehemence for coherence, was airing an ad warning that Obama favors "massive government, billions in spending increases."

    The political left always aims to expand the permeation of economic life by politics. Today, the efficient means to that end is government control of capital. So, is not McCain's party now conducting the most leftist administration in American history? The New Deal never acted so precipitously on such a scale. Treasury Secretary Paulson, asked about conservative complaints that his rescue program amounts to socialism, said, essentially: This is not socialism, this is necessary. That non sequitur might be politically necessary, but remember that government control of capital is government control of capitalism. Does McCain have qualms about this, or only quarrels?

    On "60 Minutes" Sunday evening, McCain, saying "this may sound a little unusual," said that he would like to replace Cox with Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic attorney general of New York who is the son of former governor Mario Cuomo. McCain explained that Cuomo has "respect" and "prestige" and could "lend some bipartisanship." Conservatives have been warned.

    Conservatives who insist that electing McCain is crucial usually start, and increasingly end, by saying he would make excellent judicial selections. But the more one sees of his impulsive, intensely personal reactions to people and events, the less confidence one has that he would select judges by calm reflection and clear principles, having neither patience nor aptitude for either.

    It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/22/AR2008092202583.html?sub=AR
     
  11. A_3PO

    A_3PO Member

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    For George Will to puncture McCain like that really says something. McCain's personal demonizing of people he doesn't like is another continuation of the Bush mentality the country cannot afford to continue.
     

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